Wedding at Highlawn Pavilion | Rachel and Casey | NJ Wedding Photographer
Gosh. Rachel and Casey’s wedding at Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange, NJ was probably the most emotional wedding I’ve ever been a part of. When I say I was a puddle all day… I really was a puddle allllll day, and I think all the bridesmaids can attest to that!!
I walked into Rachel’s parents home and was greeted by so many familiar and friendly faces. I had shot Rachel’s Matron of Honor, Aimee (aka Sparkle of Honor as they call it) wedding one year ago and her Maid of Honor, Ashley I get to photograph in September in Vermont! (Her other Sparkle of Honor of course!) So already, I had two familiar loving faces and then throw in the fact that I’ve gotten to meet Rachel’s family at Aimee’s wedding and know one more bridesmaid from high school and it’s just going to be a great day for sure.
The girls all got ready at Rachel’s house and then we all hopped in cars to head down to Highlawn Pavilion where the rest of the festivities would be taking place. Everyone got dressed there and Rachel decided she was going to do a first look with her Bridesmaids, and her dad, and Casey, so you can see why I was a puddle literally all day long.
The girls all had their eyes closed as Rachel walked into the room and then as soon as I told them to open I think everyone started crying. Literally everyone. And then I heard Rachel say “Oh my gosh, I’m so lucky to have so many best friends”. Because the thing is, when you’re Rachel’s friend, you kinda become a friend for life. And I adore this about her.
After the girls got back their composure, Rachel’s mom, Cindy, helped put her jewelry on while the girls helped with the veil. Once everything was in place, we got Rachel’s dad ready for their first look and it was just the most adorable moment ever. Immediate tears. From every single person in the room. Not kidding. He adores his little peanut and it was so clear to see that. I’m so glad they got to share this moment!
After all of that, as if I hadn’t cried enough already, it was time for her first look with Casey. They immediately embraced one another in a humongous hug and you could see the nerves slowly start to melt away for each of them. They both have such a calming presence for one another. After their first look, we explored a bit more of the property for their bride and groom portraits, followed by all the wedding party formals. And the light.was.to.die.for.
Rachel looked absolutely stunning, as did the rest of the girls, and the guys looked so handsome in their classic black suits! It was honestly SUCH joy working with every single one of them. The wedding party made my job SO FUN and SO EASY and that’s literally just the best thing I could ask for on a wedding day. But when I think about Rachel and Casey, I wouldn’t expect anything different, they have surrounded themselves with truly incredible people.
From there, we shot family formals and then went to the ceremony which was one of the most personal ceremonies I’ve gotten to attend. Members of each of their families shared poems, readings, and a song as we celebrated the joining of these two beautiful people. Everyone shared beautiful sentiments in their songs, readings, and poem about loved ones last, looking down on them from heaven and I hope Rachel and Casey could feel the amount of love pouring out of every person in attendance, as well as the love from those who couldn’t be with us. It was truly beautiful.
From there, everyone joined cocktail hour while we got to do a few more portraits and then joined in the reception festivities. I cried during every first dance, and every toast, as well as every first look, and the ceremony (twice). So if you’re counting, that’s 10 times that I cried that day. Like I said, PUDDLE.
After dinner, the COOLEST THING happened, and Casey’s cousin performed an electronic set of songs. Layer upon layer he LIVE recorded himself singing, beat boxing, and playing the piano and it was literally INSANE. Chris, I commend you- that was fantastic and how awesome that you got to perform for Rachel and Casey on this beautiful day! I know how much it meant to them.
Once I was done, I packed up and ended up staying for another 2.5 hours until the very last song because I had so much fun! It was a wedding I won’t ever forget.
Rachel and Casey, I love you guys. There’s no other way to put it. Thank you for allowing me into your lives to document your love story. I’m honored I got to be a part of this beautiful day and wish you a lifetime of love, laughter and happiness. I hope you love these pictures as much as I loved taking them.
Thank you to these incredible vendors for making this day possible!!
VENUE: Highlawn Pavilion
VENUE COORDINATOR: Christopher Gellings
VIDEOGRAPHER: Golden Hour Visuals ; Jerod Wood
FLORIST: Corwin Florist
DJ: Your Event Matters; Donnie Lewis
MAKE-UP ARTIST: Beauty on Location
HAIR ARTIST: Beauty on Location; Amy Jones Baskin
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: Macy’s!
TUXES: Men’s Warehouse
BRIDAL GOWN BOUTIQUE: Park Avenue Bridals Verona NJ
BRIDAL GOWN DESIGNER: Pronovias